Being late to a party can sometimes be a wise choice. Especially if you have watched the party closely and judged your entrance very carefully.
So it is with Volvo’s entrance to the small/medium size SUV party. You know the one, where the Audi Q3, BMW X1, (new) Volkswagen Tiguan and others are invited. Fortunately, Volvo aren’t so late that they’ve missed the point, no, they’ve essentially waited for the others to hit v2.0 before opening the door. (I didn’t mention Evoque or E Pace on purpose. Just to see if you were paying attention…. )
It’s a strong look the Volvo is carrying. The second generation XC90 kicked off this styling direction and the XC40 manages to look related but not derivative. Much more defined and strong around the face and very four-square and squat.
It is a look that certainly draws attention. It’s rare that I’m ever stopped by an unknown person to chat about the car I’m in. This happened twice in two days – both were very complimentary, naturally. More unusually it impresses teenage boys. Fact. Two of my sons U14 football team made a beeline for the car at training as they were keen to have a closer look. Sick, awesome, all of these. Pester power Volvo – you know it works.
Inside the car the look is more derivative of the XC90 and XC60 than the outside. This, however, is a great decision. The look and feel, the quality and overall ambience is most certainly ‘premium’ (an overused word nowadays. I must stop).
It is also very Volvo – understated and soothing. Now all this would be of far less consequence if Volvo had misjudged the size of the car. What a relief that they seem to have managed to hit the Goldilocks target. (Not too big, not too small, just right). Some cars in this class can be small in the boot. Not here. This can be your primary family car, even if you have 2 teenage children.
I have a friend who has ordered one already to replace a Skoda Yeti. Sounds odd, but he likes the fact that the XC40 shouts quality without being overstated.
The driving experience? Many far more eloquent press types have had much to say on this and I agree with their general overall average summary. The car is just a nice place to be. Sounds twee, but the car isn’t so light and detached that you become a virtual passenger, nor is it over firm and tiring to be around. Goldilocks again.
If you’re in the market for this type of car, you’d be crazy not to seriously consider the Volvo. If only for the 2kg rated take-away bag hook on the glove box lid. Why didn’t I think of that?
Paul Titchmarsh – Director of Risk & Manufacturer Relations